Let’s start with a basic idea:
Nofollow links tell search engines to ignore a link.
To put this more specifically: Follow links help your search engine rankings and nofollow links don’t. Nofollow links don’t pass on their value as links. Simple.
That’s why when it comes to link building, it’s largely a task of trying to build as many follow links as possible – in order to filter their value as links into your own site.
However, nofollow links still have some SEO value though – especially if those links come from trusted and related sources. Here’s why.
Every time you link to something, you become a backlink for that site. Follow or nofollow. A good way of understanding this is thinking of links as points. More points = more value. Follow links count as points, so they add to your site’s value. Nofollow links don’t have any points to them. They are not valueless, however.
Google recognises both types of links, observing how many a page has and where they are coming from. If Google notices a lot of sites linking to a particular page, it knows that it must be a good one. It then gives preference to that site over others so that it can deliver the best search results to its users.
The nofollow html tag was originally created by Google to fight spam. If ranked highly enough, spam sites had the ability to push genuine, quality sites out of the search results and inflate their own. Not exactly Google’s idea of winning.
While a link to your site may include a nofollow, it is highly likely that someone, somewhere will find it, realise it is useful and decide to link back to it from their own site. This then may become a follow link with SEO value. Google likes this. If they recognise that people find it valuable, they’ll pick it up, they’ll link to it and voila, there’s your follow link.
Ultimately, the goal for your brand is to have a healthy balance of follow and no follow links in order to create the perfect backlink profile. While follow links contribute the most to search engine optimisation, nofollow links reduce suspicion and support the flow of genuine traffic to your website. They exist to work for you, not against you. Our advice is to embrace the purpose of the nofollow link and use it to build your brand’s reputation and authority online. Prioritise achieving nofollow links from high-quality sites with a relevant audience and/or high volumes of genuine traffic.